Tomorrow is National Coffee Day. Why celebrate? Besides coffee's delicious smell, flavor, and its legendary place on our breakfast tables, it's got some serious health perks (and a few downsides, especially if you have heart disease or insomnia).
Plus, our friends at faithfulprovisions.com have helpfully figured out where you can celebrate with FREE coffee around the country. As an alternative, make this yummy coffee drink and pair it with one of our 4 Recipes for Coffee Lovers.
Here's what you need to know about your cup of Joe:
- Coffee is the number-one source of antioxidants in the American diet, according to Joe A. Vinson, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton who has studied coffee extensively.
- Caffeine may protect brain cells from the damage that causes Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. And the antioxidants in coffee could help prevent liver disease.
- Coffee may make you thin. The caffeine in coffee can speed up metabolism and fat-burning, which helps lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
- Black coffee is rich and delicious, but has zero calories.
- Coffee drinkers may be at lower risk of liver and colon cancer
- Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it can make you dehydrated, but it also unpuffs your eyes (which is why a cup of coffee after a night of overindulgence makes sense).
- Coffee can increase longevity. Studies have found that people who drank coffee regularly—up to six cups a day—were less likely to die of various causes during the study than their non-coffee-drinking counterparts.
- The caffeine in coffee can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. If you really can't sleep, experts recommend quitting coffee altogether, or at least stopping after your morning cup.
- The average coffee drinker downs about three cups each day.
- Coffee may curb appetite by altering levels hormones naturally released to control things like hunger or fullness.
- Coffee can raise blood pressure, so if you have that problem, it’s smart to switch to decaf.
- Coffee drinkers in the U.S. tend to have a higher household income than non-coffee-drinkers.
- Decaf coffee may contain caffeine. A 2007 Consumer Reports study found that "decaffeinated" coffees sold at several chain restaurants varied widely, containing up to 32 mg of caffeine per cup—about the same amount in 12 ounces of cola.
- Coffee isn't the only source of caffeine; it comes from lots of surprising sources.
- If you want to kick the coffee habit, it's best not to go cold turkey.